Muslims Are Kicked Like A Political Football.

M. Akhtar, Ph.D; President, Muslim Council of America

Lately Muslims have become like a political football for the players who like to win the Super Bowl, sometime by hook or by crook. Thank God, there are rules and laws in America, that makes us feel to be proud of American heritage. Dr. Ben Carson in the presidential race for 2016 took a shot at American Muslims, saying that Muslims cannot become US President.
Doesn’t Dr. Carson know that the Article VI of the US Constitution specifically forbids a religious test as a requirement for holding a governmental position?
Does it prohibit Muslims to aspire for President’s job, simply based on one’s religion? No, that did not go very far. Sensing the wind flow, he shifted his attack and took another shot at Muslims, claiming that 1) Muslims are generally known to dislike the US Constitution, 2) that the Muslims want to enforce their Shariah laws upon all Americans, and 3) they have other things incompatible with US Constitution, which would disqualify them to follow American laws.
If one were looking for the simple truth, nothing but the truth, the answer is a clear negative to each of the three allegations, which lack factual basis that is only a small problem. The bigger problem here is that we are dealing with the neo-conservative agenda, which unfortunately are rarely based on strict facts and are often inspired by self-serving needs of the neocons, who nourish a Nazi-like political climate that ceaselessly caricature a demonizing image of Muslims.
It is easy to rant about Muslims being terrorists just to galvanize crowds against Muslims – even though terrorism, whatever kind, has occurred in other foreign lands and America has been relatively safe all these years. Yet America is still kept in the grips of fright of Muslims- the recent display of it is in the case of a young boy. Ahmed, who invented a device that he brought to the school to share with his friends and was arrested because of it. That should alert a truth seeking mind to sense how blind we have gone in our zeal to protect America, which is good but it should not go too far to the extent that it becomes a Phobia.
Let us be clear that Dr Carson is indicting the faith of entire population of millions of Muslims in America, asking them to denounce their religion in order for any Muslim to hold the highest public office in US. Shouldn’t he be held responsible enough to at least prove his allegations, or repudiate them and humbly apologize to show that he is a man of integrity?
Dr Carson recklessly relying on hearsay ‘what everybody is saying in America these days’ sounds not only being un-American, but also unfitting and too puerile for a presidential candidate, who also happens to belong to a respectable medical profession. Being a surgeon, Dr. Carson should know better that it is ill advised not to use well-proven surgical procedures, and instead heedlessly choosing to rely upon ‘old wives’ tale’. The US public has to be mindful that such a racist perception of a Muslim segment of American electorate carried by a Presidential candidate is a confirmatory diagnostic sign of a substandard, unethical and unreliable politician.
Please let us first present our case below as a counter to Dr. Carson’s allegations. Following are the quoted selections taken from an article that appeared few months ago, the significance of which will be explained in the later following paragraphs.
“ 1) How do American Muslims find the US Constitution? They love it and find it akin to Islamic values. They like the democratic features and humane values of American laws better than they see in the laws of many Muslim countries. Sanctity of life, Justice, equality, liberty, honesty, mercy etc. are values identical to Shariah (level 1). Furthermore, Bill of Right guarantees Freedom of Religion, which Muslims feel most indebted to. These laws are very similar to the first Madinah Constitution that was drafted by Prophet Mohammad after building consensus with non-Muslims – the first secular and pluralistic society. In the past, Europe was similarly indebted to Islamic laws for many centuries especially during Dark Ages for similar freedom of religion given to non-Muslims. It was this recognition of the contribution of Islamic laws that inspired the early generations of Americans to have the marble sculpture of Prophet Muhammad placed inside US Supreme Court chamber as a gesture of goodwill. The sculpture displayed Prophet Mohammad carrying a sword and the Quran and standing in the company of more than a dozen other “great lawgivers of history.” What Muslims are required by Quran to have in any country they live is something very simple. To worship God in accordance with Islam. As long as they enjoy this freedom to worship, they can be exempt from following any Shriah laws while living in America.
2) Is there a Shariah based obligation to force Shariah laws in America?
The answer is clearly negative. It is supported by the two principles of Shariah – used at level 1.
One of the basic and Golden Principle of the Shariah clearly and repeatedly stated in the Quran is:
“There is no Compulsion or Coercion in religion of Islam” (Quran 2:256).
Clearly it is against Islam to force any human (both Muslims and non-Muslims) to change one’s beliefs and religious precepts. This principle is not only true when Muslims live as a minority, but also when they live as a Majority.
Any transgression of this Golden Principle and to impose Shariah by force is against the Shariah. America is amongst very few countries in the world, which upholds this Divine Golden Principle. Its Constitution, which is more ‘Islamic’ than ‘Christian’, guarantees freedom of religion to all and prohibits any coercion in matters of religion on anyone. The level of freedom and respect for human dignity found and practiced in America is often missing and not found in many Muslim countries.
3) The other Golden Principle of the Shariah is that Muslims are required to follow the laws of the land, unless the law of land prohibits them the freedom of the religion. First Amendment guarantees neutrality with regard to religion and protection of religious beliefs and practices.
Experts such as Muddassir Siddiqui, who is both an American lawyer and internationally recognized scholar of the Shariah, states “American laws do not prohibit Muslims to practice their religion or force them to commit violation of the Shariah laws”.
Many American laws are better adapted to the human spirit and modern conditions of living as compared to what we find in several Muslim countries. In view of these considerations, Tariq Ramadhan, a world famed leader and scholar of Islam at Oxford University, also concludes that it is categorically wrong for Muslims not to follow the laws of America. This means that Muslims have no need to change American laws on account of Shariah or any other religious obligation.”
The last one page unequivocally puts an end to the suspicions and allegations aroused by Dr Carson and implicitly subscribed by Donald Trump in the last presidential debate.
(For the complete 4-page article, if needed, please write to zulfimalik786@hotmail.com.
The one page selection of the article given above verbatim and italicized is to preserve its authenticity. Actually it was the complete article that was reviewed and collectively attested as correct by a dozen of scholars, several of them are scholars of Islam at high-ranking universities of America. That makes the little document highly authentic. The key emphasis here about these scholars that one needs to assure of is that they live and know America very well as opposed to scholars in Saudi Arabia, or in any foreign land, and its practices (may be fitting or not fitting to the local conditions), they certainly do not automatically transfer and thus do not qualify for an authentic application to America.

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